Phil Morton is a 30 year old Aboriginal Australian, who finds himself in Chernarus via a convoluted and confusing means.
Phil grew up in the rural area of Walgett, with few prospects and minimal education. After his cousin was shot by police in a drug raid, Phil decided to escape a similar fate, and decided to go back to school. Unfortunately the only school that would take him was the Royal Military College, who trained him in several aspects of construction.
At T minus 2 months from the outbreak, Phil was serving with the Australian Provincial Reconstruction Team in the Tarin Kowt province of Afghanistan, where he was passing on his knowledge of carpentry at a NATO-funded trade school. On the way back to the base, an IED ruptured his vehicle, killing two of his comrades and critically wounding him.
Phil was flown to Germany for emergency surgery and rehabilitation, which is when the news of the disasters arrived. Amid the chaos, every able-bodied person was needed to respond, so Phil volunteered to join the protective detail of a German supply aircraft, headed for eastern Europe. Somewhere between then and now, things went wrong on the plane...
Phil woke up in the moonlight on a Chernarussian beach, not knowing where he was or the gravity of his situation. He was dazed, soaking wet, freezing and probably concussed. After dragging himself up off the beach, he realized his flashlight was still strapped into his load-bearing gear. At the same time that he switched it on, he noticed a red, green and white light drifting on the moonlit crests nearby. He yelled and flashed his light furiously at the boat, no more than 50 metres from where he stood, but it only halted for a few seconds, before resuming it's pace, gliding out to sea at just few knots.
Confused and with pain setting in, he turned with the flashlight to get a look at the beach on which he stood, and that's when he saw them; the limping, shuffling figures, drifting by. At the German base, he had only see footage of "riots" and cities in lock-down; he had not been told of the virus. His first thought was that it might be the rest of his plane crew, so he yelled and limped towards the figures. One figure stopped and turned, giving out a sub-human growl and clicking that sent a shot of adrenaline into Phil's heart that was so strong that before he knew what had happened, he was 10 metres down the beach at full sprint, with the creature in tow.
For now, the pain was again gone and all thoughts of his wounded leg left him. There was just the terror, the guttural noises, the leaves and stones and fences flying underneath him. Next thing he knew he was in the outskirts of a town, having weaved down some alleyways and come to a dead end. He nervously crouch walked himself backwards into a corner, hands shaking as they tried to keep the flashlight fixed in the direction from which he had come... but the creature did not appear. Had he lost it behind one of the fences vaulted? Had it even existed? What the hell was going on!?
An eternity passed as Phil rationalized his situation. As he warmed his fears with logical reasons to doubt his own perceptions of what had just transpired, it couldn't be real, but equally so the pain in his leg and the intense cold returned to cripple him. He needed help; he was probably in shock at best, and dying at worst.
Finally dragging himself out of the fenced yard where he had be cowering, he noticed that the city centre was illuminated by the familiar warm glow of emergency flares. As he stumbled over the railway tracks and streets, looming above him like an oasis was the monolithic structure of a soviet-era hospital. He was in eastern europe, and he might now live. Limping up to the entrance, he found all the windows shattered and the smell of death in the air. The silence was deafening, so he made his way inside and started scavenging for bandages, warmth and anything he could use to assess his predicament.
The reprieve from fear was short lived though, as rifle shots rang out and echoed down the streets. A bullet whizzed by and lodged itself in the wall next to Phil's head. He hit the ground with his arms shielding his head, yelling not to shoot, that he was unarmed.
The reply was incredulous, "I'm not fucking shooting at you, mate! Help me!", and was quickly followed by a thunder of footsteps and not one source of the guttural growling, but countless. A figure flashed past the windows, with a growling mob reaching and swiping at his cloak.
The noises seemed to circle the building, with Phil paralysed by what he had just witnessed, hiding behind the hospital's reception desk. Soon the voice returned though, this time more desperate, "Mate, they've got me trapped up on the roof, I need you to stick a bloody blood bag in me!".
Phil was still confused, finally finding his voice, "What the fuck is going on!? Who are they?!".
"They're fucking infected, aren't they!", came the upstairs voice again, "I gotta get out of here, I think I can make a run for it".
As Phil shuffled over to the windows to take a peek, he heard an almighty thud overlaid with more than a few cracks. He yelled to his new acquaintance, "Hey! You there? You ok?", but all he heard back was the growling reaching a new peak, joined by slapping, tearing and squelching noises. Phil poked his head and and looked around the corner of the hospital. There at the base of a ladder, was a bloodied corpse holding a rifle, bones protruding from a massive leg wound and... those... things. Those things, tearing at the cadaver's gut, their hands glistening with slick black liquid in the dim moonlight.
Again, before he could even register the horror of this scene, he found himself again at full sprint with the guttural noises screaming at his back. Through an arch, round a bend he found himself at a church altar, cornered. The room was dark, and silhouetted in the doorway were the creatures with the glistening, sticky hands, shuffling slowly into the darkness, towards him.
Phil held his breath and stood perfectly still, waiting for them to be half way up the aisle, before he sprinted back out the door and back the way he came, back to his acquaintance. Crouching next to the corpse, Phil saw that he was definitely dead. The damage was beyond fatal. Fearing a similar fate, he pried the rifle from the still-warm claw, and grabbed the nearby pack, heavy enough to look useful.
Creeping away, these creatures seemed to be everywhere. He stuck to the shadows and moved slowly as to not be seen. Again the adrenaline was pumping, but keeping a firm grip on the rifle's wooden body seemed to control the shaking in his hand.
Further up the street, there was a flare illuminating the inside of what looked to be a supermarket. For the moment, there seemed to be no movement or shuffling shapes nearby. Phil stopped in the centre of an intersection and yelled at the open doors, hoping to find another soul inside. To his surprise, the reply came from behind him, "I can see you. Do you have medical supplies?".
Turning around, but not seeing the source of the voice, Phil yelled aimlessly, "Yes, I just came from that hospital".
"I'm on the roof, come up", said the silhouette emerging on the skyline across the street.
Inside, Phil found a man in a black jacket, crouching in a shadowed corner, who quickly emerged once the wooden rifle was placed on the floor. As a form of introduction, Phil opened the pack that he had stolen from the corpse. The man pointed at an emergency blood-bag and said he'd need Phil's help with it. With wide eyes, Phil followed the man's instructions and held the bag in the air as the main used his own torch to find a vein to connect it to. Apparently this was a routine procedure in this nightmarish world. Afterwards, Phil returned to the pack and found some kind of automatic pistol, which he cautiously handed to his new friend, as he seemed to be unarmed.
It was only after they shared what they knew about this city, how they came to be here, and how Phil came to be in posession of the back-pack that Phil realised that he didn't even know the man's name. He was just so glad to find another seemingly sane soul here, who wasn't a monster, that he had an instant friendship despite the lack of formalities.
"Phil Morton", he said, extending his hand. Riley O'Conner said his own name back and accepted the handshake.
"I'm not keen on staying around here", the new friend said after a cold silence, "I hear there might be a radio up at the airfield, but I don't know how to get there, and the walk will be dangerous".
Keen to escape the smell of death that hung in this city, Phil agreed to join Riley. "There's safety in numbers, I guess. I found a compass and map".
"Great", Riley replied. "I'm no good at navigating though, so you better hang on to them. We're here, in Elektrogorsk". As he pointed to the map, the crack of a gunshot rang in their ears, and a peice of concrete debris grazed Phil's cheek.
"Shit! Get down!", Phil cried as once again dove to the floor.
Riley seemed less concerned though, crouching and awkwardly holding his gun with two hands now. "Sorry, I accidentally hit the trigger!".
"Jesus Christ, man! You ever used a piece? Watch it or you'll take an eye out with that thing!". Phil almost regretted arming the man, but knew it was necessary.